Page last updated at 18:14 GMT, Monday, 6 July 2009 19:14 UK

Nurse with two NHS jobs suspended

University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff
Athene Baiete-Coker was working in Cardiff when she took the other job

An NHS nurse who was employed full-time at two hospitals 150 miles apart has been suspended for a year at a conduct hearing.

Athene Baiete-Coker worked at Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales and for Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in London for almost a year.

When it became too much, the 32-year-old took sick and annual leave from one hospital to work at the other.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council said she was unfit to practice.

Ms Baiete-Coker, who moved from Sierra Leone to Cardiff with her family when she was 14, said she was already working at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) when she accepted the other job.

She said she wanted to be in London where her fiance lived, but her mother in Cardiff became ill with a brain tumour and she had to look after her.

"In my culture, the eldest automatically becomes the main provider or sole provider," she said.

I'd like to apologise for the embarrassment and the dishonesty... I'm very remorseful and sincerely so for my actions
Athene Baiete-Coker

"Because my mum was a single parent it was always left to me."

Ms Baiete-Coker said her brother suffered from mental illness after a racist attack and was unable to work.

"I became foolish. I didn't gain anything. The money went on the tremendous travelling, not living a lavish lifestyle," she said.

"I always made sure I gave the best for my patients."

The conduct and competence committee hearing was told the nurse had pleaded guilty at Cardiff Magistrates' Court in May 2008 to five charges including false accounting, obtaining money by deception and falsifying documents.

She had dishonestly earned a total of £5,202 between July 2006 and May 2007.

St Thomas' Hospital, London
Ms Baiete-Coker took a job in London to be with her fiance

The nurse was sentenced by the magistrates to four months' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to carry out 250 hours unpaid work and pay £2,000 compensation.

Her two jobs came to light following a national fraud initiative and she resigned.

Ms Baiete-Coker said she had tried to find work in nursing since the court case, but employers wanted to know the outcome of the conduct hearing first.

She said she had been studying for a Masters in public health care while she waited for the hearing.

"It's always been my interest since a child," she told a panel of the conduct and competence committee sitting in Cardiff.

"I'd like to apologise for the embarrassment and the dishonesty. I'm very remorseful and sincerely so for my actions. I'd like you to give me a chance to continue practising."

'Under pressure'

Asked by panel chairman Jillian Alderwick if she ever realised what she was doing would get her in trouble, Ms Baiete-Coker said: "I know what I did was wrong, but I was so much under pressure, stressed out."

The panel found that Ms Baiete-Coker's fitness to practice was impaired.

Suspending her, Ms Alderwick said her offences showed a degree of planning and premeditation.

But she added: "We accept she was naive, foolish and stupid rather than rotten to the core.

"There was no actual evidence of patient harm although there was the potential for such harm."

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